Troy De Smet, President and Founder of Freekeh Foods, was raised in the world of agriculture. As his father worked for the largest grain co-op in northern U.S.A., Troy grew up learning the ins and outs of the industry, even shoveling grain in his early 20s.
After college, he continued to work in conventional agriculture but began to see things, such as feed yard practices, that didn’t sit right with him. Going home to eat dinner with his family felt uneasy, knowing what really happened behind the scenes to produce that food.
Troy started researching in depth about the environment and organic food production. Figuring this was the right direction he began handing out resumes to organic food producers, wanting to learn more and get involved in sustainable food production.
After working with a handful of organic farmers and with Ceres Organic Harvest for over a decade, having always had a pioneering spirit, Troy decided to strike out on his own path. He started Nature’s Organic Grist in 2010. And to continue the legacy of his former boss, he started Freekeh Foods in 2012 in Fresno, California.
At the time, Freekeh Foods’ greatest challenge was that most people didn’t really know what “freekeh” was even though it had been around for thousands of years. To introduce North Americans to the healthy ancient grain, the Freekeh Foods team investigated and developed the story of where freekeh came from and created a cookbook of freekeh recipes.
Today, the company continues to grow and diversify as freekeh gains in popularity. Freekeh Foods is proud to be the farmer and processor in one, employee-owned, and to be operating on a 100% solar powered facility. They also use their resources to support initiatives and community projects that matter to them, such as Feed My Starving Children.
For Troy De Smet, producing freekeh “is really more of an ancient process than an ancient product. It’s a labour of love as your blood, sweat and tears go into making it. Although developing a process to create this product has been challenging, making it is a great reward. And really, the relationships we have with employees, farmers, and customers and their appreciation for what we do are the most rewarding.”
Learn more about Freekeh Foods on their website.